Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday: What is Fatty Liver Disease?


Our focus this week is on fatty liver disease - what it is and how it can be treated.  We spoke with Dr. Arun Mannem with Charlottesville Gastroenterology Associates to find out more.

 Fatty liver disease is something that is typically seen by a gastroenterologist. 

“The most common cause of liver disease in this country is actually nonalcoholic fatty liver disease,” noted Dr. Mannem. “It’s basically an accumulation of fat in your liver and there is no other secondary cause of fat in your liver, such as alcohol or medications that sometimes can cause fatty build up.” 

Dr. Mannem says that while there aren’t any screening tests for fatty liver disease, there are certain risk factors a person can have that puts them at a higher risk. 

“The majority of it's due to metabolic risk factors such as being obese, such as having dyslipidemia, which is having alterations in your triglycerides and cholesterol levels, as well as having either diabetes or insulin resistance, and also having high blood pressure.” 

Fatty liver disease typically affects people in their 40s and 50s, and it usually is found incidentally through routine blood work or imaging done for some other reason. 

“If you do have inflammation, you are more at risk for progressive liver disease, meaning that you can get that inflammation [that] can lead to scarring, and that scarring can eventually lead to cirrhosis,” noted Dr. Mannem. 

The best form of treatment too is something patients have to take into their own hands: weight loss. 

“Generally speaking, a weight loss of 5% - 10% of your weight will definitely improve the inflammation,” said Dr. Mannem. 

For more information on this topic, please call 1-800-SENTARA. If you have a question about your health you’d like us to answer, email healthquestions@nbc29.com

Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday

Do you have health questions? Get the answers every Monday morning from the experts in our feature: Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday.

Jenn Downs will meet with the experts of Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital and ask them your questions. You’ll see and hear the answers during NBC29 News at Sunrise every Monday morning.

To submit your questions, email them to healthquestions@nbc29.com. Then, tune in every Monday morning during NBC29 News at Sunrise for Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday.

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